The fallout from Larry Nassar's sexual abuse is just beginning

When dusk fell Friday on Michigan State University, some students gathered to keep the light shining on Larry Nassar'...

Posted: Jan 28, 2018 9:15 AM
Updated: Jan 28, 2018 9:15 AM

When dusk fell Friday on Michigan State University, some students gathered to keep the light shining on Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of scores of girls and young women -- and the school's role in it.

Students rallied and marched in support of the survivors of sex abuse. The demonstration came two days after a judge sentenced Nassar, the former Michigan State sports and USA Gymnastics physician, to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing patients under the guise of medical treatment.

Lawsuits target Michigan State and USA Gymnastics among others

The NCAA and US Olympic Committee also are starting or seeking investigations

Nassar may effectively be condemned to life in prison, but the heat on institutions associated with him is nowhere near finished. Just this week, Michigan State's president and athletic director said they were stepping down.

"We're not going to heal all the way until we know exactly who knew what, when and how they're going to fix it," former Michigan State gymnast Lindsey Lemke, one of 156 accusers who confronted Nassar in court over his abuse of two decades, said after his sentencing Wednesday.

The fallout from the scandal may span years, involving investigations, civil lawsuits and an overhaul of at least one sports governing body. Here's what's happening:

Lawsuits

Michigan State and USA Gymnastics are among the defendants in a number of civil lawsuits by more than 100 accusers.

USA Gymnastics, which selects and trains US teams competing for Olympic and world championships in the sport, counted Nassar as part of its medical staff or as national team doctor through four Olympic cycles.

Nassar also was a Michigan State sports physician from 1997 to 2016.

Allegations in the lawsuits include negligent failure to warn or protect, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

- In one suit, 2012 Olympics medalist McKayla Maroney alleged USA Gymnastics paid her to be quiet about Nassar's abuse of her, which she said began when she was 13. The US Olympic Committee, Michigan State and Nassar also are named as defendants.

- In another suit, gymnast Larissa Boyce alleges she told then-Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages in the late 1990s that Nassar abused her. Boyce recalls Klages telling her that she could not imagine Nassar "doing anything questionable," then discouraging her from filing a formal complaint, according to the lawsuit.

- Former Michigan State softball player Tiffany Thomas-Lopez says in a lawsuit Nassar abused her in the late 1990s, and that at least three university trainers listened to her accusations but did nothing about them.

USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State have denied wrongdoing, and USA Gymnastics said it reported the sexual abuse allegations to authorities when it learned about the abuse.

Michigan State maintains that no official there believed Nassar committed sexual abuse until newspapers began reporting on the allegations in the summer of 2016. Any suggestion that the university engaged in a coverup is "simply false," a school statement asserted last week.

Klages' attorney, Steve F. Stapleton, told CNN his firm is representing the former coach in federal civil litigation surrounding Nassar and will not comment on pending litigation.

Michigan attorney general to 'review' school's role

A number of investigations also have been announced -- with Michigan State as one of the targets.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says he will conduct a "review" of what happened at Michigan State, and issue a report and recommendations. His office said details will be announced after Nassar's final round of sentencing, set for next Wednesday.

Nassar is set to be sentenced then on three counts of criminal sexual assault involving victims in Eaton County, adjacent to Ingham County, where he was sentenced this week on seven counts of criminal sexual conduct.

What could Schuette be looking for?

To start with, some of the same allegations over which Michigan State is being sued. Several victims have said they reported Nassar's behavior to the school years ago, but that they were either silenced or that officials did nothing to end the abuse.

The Detroit News recently reported that misconduct allegations against Nassar reached at least 14 Michigan State representatives in the two decades before his arrest.

The university received a Title IX complaint of sexual misconduct against Nassar in 2014, but the investigation concluded that Nassar's conduct was not of a sexual nature and he was cleared of any Title IX violations, the News reported. Title IX is a federal law that protects people from sexual discrimination in education or other programs receiving federal aid.

It's not clear whether Schuette's review could lead to criminal charges.

Michigan State law professor Mark Totten, who lost to Schuette in a 2014 general election, wrote this week that a criminal investigation -- not simply a review -- is needed.

"To be very clear, prosecutors don't perform 'reviews' and offer-up 'recommendations.' They conduct investigations and bring criminal charges if the evidence demands," Totten wrote on Facebook.

Ahead of the review, shakeups have been underway:

- Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon is resigning after outcries that the school's response wasn't good enough.

- Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis said Friday he is retiring.

- Michigan State physician Brooke Lemmen resigned last year after she allegedly removed "several boxes of confidential treatment records" from the school at Nassar's request, and allegedly didn't tell school officials that Nassar had told her in 2015 that USA Gymnastics was investigating him, the Lansing State Journal reported.

- Klages, the gymnastics coach, retired in 2017.

NCAA investigating Michigan State

The NCAA, too, is looking into Michigan State's handling of allegations against Nassar.

The collegiate athletics governing body said Wednesday it wants to see whether the university violated any NCAA rules.

Other actions involving MSU

- Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard was asking House attorneys to advise him this week on constitutional avenues to remove Michigan State's Board of Trustees, MLive.com reported. The request came not only as general criticism grew over how the university handled the Nassar scandal but also after trustees publicly supported Simon before she resigned.

- The trustees said Friday they were trying to get an "independent third-party" to produce recommendations for improving life at the university. An independent investigator would review "all our processes relating to health and safety, in every area of the university, and ... provide recommendations that we will implement to change the culture of MSU," trustee board Chairman Brian Breslin wrote.

US Olympic Committee wants an investigation ...

The US Olympic Committee -- itself a focus of victims' ire -- has called for an investigation by an "independent third party to examine how an abuse of this proportion could have gone undetected for so long."

"We need to know when complaints were brought forward and to who," USOC Chief Executive Scott Blackmun said in an open letter.

"This investigation will include both USAG (USA Gymnastics) and the USOC, and we believe USAG will cooperate fully. We will make the results public," Blackmun wrote.

... and more resignations at USA Gymnastics

Blackmun also demanded that USA Gymnastics board members quit by Wednesday because of Nassar's abuse -- and threatened to decertify the sport's governing body if they don't.

Three top USA Gymnastics board members resigned earlier this week -- a move Blackmun acknowledged but said wasn't enough. The Indianapolis-based organization has 18 other board positions.

Blackmun said USAG will lose its status as the country's gymnastics regulator unless the board meets next week's deadline and an interim board is in place by February 28.

"We do not base these requirements on any knowledge that any individual USAG staff or board members had a role in fostering or obscuring Nassar's actions," Blackmun wrote in a letter CNN obtained. "Our position comes from a clear sense that USAG culture needs fundamental rebuilding."

USA Gymnastics said Friday it would "comply with the USOC requirements."

Sorting USA Gymnastics' future

USA Gymnastics already was undergoing an overhaul. The group asked former federal prosecutor Deborah Daniels in late 2016 to review its policies on handling sexual misconduct -- and in June she released a report highlighting numerous shortcomings.

USA Gymnastics said it would implement Daniels' 70 recommendations, including:

- Requiring members to report suspected sexual misconduct to legal authorities and the US Center for SafeSport.

- Implementing an abuse prevention training plan for members, parents and athletes.

- Removing the "athlete representative," tasked with ensuring the welfare of gymnasts at the training center, from the Olympic selection committee so athletes can feel more comfortable reporting abuse to him or her

USA Gymnastics needs to sort other parts of its immediate future, too.

It was once scheduled to hold a training camp this week at the Karolyi Ranch in Texas. The ranch had been the official US Women's National Team Training Center since 2001.

But USA Gymnastics cut ties with the ranch last week after several gymnasts said Nassar abused them there. The organization is exploring alternative sites to host camps until it finds a permanent location.

USA Gymnastics also is under financial pressure. AT&T said this week it is suspending its sponsorship of the organization "until it is rebuilt and we know that the athletes are in a safe environment."

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 62°
Florence
Few Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 61°
Fayetteville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 61°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 61°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
57° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 57°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 233569

Reported Deaths: 2952
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby34523553
Davidson29914326
Knox1193687
Hamilton11197103
Rutherford11090106
Williamson665649
Sumner5664107
Wilson443153
Putnam415653
Montgomery387251
Out of TN377535
Unassigned37264
Madison363079
Bradley343421
Sullivan324845
Sevier317321
Blount313932
Washington313244
Maury308135
Robertson249839
Hamblen233843
Tipton220622
Gibson205938
Dyer203726
Hardeman179532
Coffee177420
Trousdale17437
Obion164918
Bedford159620
Dickson157318
Fayette157022
Anderson156713
Greene156551
Wayne15657
Loudon155010
McMinn152232
Cumberland150124
Lawrence147918
Jefferson146619
Weakley144425
Carter142832
Monroe137027
Henderson136125
Warren135110
Hardin132219
Lauderdale131918
Macon126324
Franklin122816
Roane12017
Haywood119526
Overton113311
Johnson11067
Hawkins110524
White110214
Carroll109424
McNairy109126
Marshall10568
Rhea104916
Cheatham97311
Lake9703
Smith94713
Cocke92612
Bledsoe9244
Giles90134
Campbell8857
Fentress8618
Lincoln8142
Crockett78321
Henry74610
Hickman74413
Chester71314
Marion7089
DeKalb67716
Decatur62811
Grainger5394
Grundy5248
Claiborne5046
Union4992
Polk47413
Jackson4225
Humphreys4154
Morgan4116
Houston39215
Benton3919
Cannon3872
Clay37112
Unicoi3672
Lewis3522
Scott3324
Sequatchie3294
Stewart3117
Meigs2965
Pickett2495
Moore2452
Perry2081
Van Buren1911
Hancock1123

Community Events